Like a child counting down the days until Christmas, I've been looking forward to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. I'm a sucker for Square Enix anyway, and the prospect of a $15 game (even if there is pricey DLC) was too much to resist. That's why it was so shocking to discover that my first few game days in Padarak were ... well, boring. Everything was very controlled and linear, and I couldn't run around and explore. Instead, I sat through cutscenes explaining more than I wanted to know at that point, when all I wanted to do was flex my new architek power. And then, once I was free, I had very little in the way of resources! Frustrating.
Several hours later, since I was still playing, I realized that maybe I wasn't so bored after all. The simple directive of get more stuff sucked me in as soon as I had a free hand with the game, and before I even had time to think, I was obsessed with building up my little kingdom. Without my even realizing it, My Life as a King had gone from boring to fun.
While we have a full review of the WiiWare title coming later, initial impressions of the simulation are that it's a lot like MySims, but better. My Life as a King manages to be even cuter, but with a gloss that's unmistakably Square Enix, and the characters are engaging. Even the random chatter with the townspeople is somewhat interesting. There's no awkward building; once you have the ability to construct something with your power, up it goes as directed. While it means the buildings are somewhat lacking in variety, it's quicker and frees up more time to do the important things, like hunt down the darn moogle who makes your blueprints for new buildings.
Early impressions of the adventuring system are also positive; as soon as that opened up, it quickly became the most interesting part of the game (so far). Since you're limited, in the beginning, in what you can build. it's nice to know that you can easily multiply your stable of adventurers and send them out in search of knowledge and resources. Every time you build a house, you get two new people: one citizen, and one would-be adventurer. As soon as you can afford to commission them, they're able to head out to the surrounding dungeons in search of elementite, the material used for your architek power.
Here at the beginning, there isn't a great deal to do, other than marvel that there are only single parents here (several single moms and one single dad in my kingdom), and wonder where that damned Mogtillo gets off to when I need him, but the game days are short. Later, I'm sure managing everything will become a challenge of time.
Check back with us later for a full review, in which we'll also take a look at the already-available downloadable content!